A Sneak Peak

Gooooooooood Saturday morning people!  

Today is Saturday, my photoblog but today I only have two pictures to show you and it’s because they are simply stunning.  

As I said yesterday, my friend Dawn offered to create my cover for me.  This is the end result of the front cover.

Beautiful isn’t it?

Dawn does some simply incredible work.

So Createspace’s cover program basically boils down to three options

  • Pick one of their themes and insert your text.

Lacking in serious imagination there.  Which I am not.

  • Pick a theme and insert a cover photo on the front, insert your text and select background and font colours on the back.  

Which is what I did first.

I was picking out a colour to try to work seamlessly with this cover here *points up* and said as much to Dawn.  She said “I can make the back cover for you.”   And that brings me to option three:

  • Upload a single file that has front and back cover

So this morning that’s precisely what she did.   Dawn volunteered, again, to help me out.  And she created this awesome work of art:

😀

The ONLY word I can think of this is stunning.  

Dawn did a lot of work for me and I’m grateful.  I think she had some fun but she didn’t have to do it at all and I am pleased all the way around.   Dawn is a friend of mine and I love her anyway but now… I want to send her a balloon bouquet.  *laughs*  Or a chocolate and fruit one!

Today we are off to the psychic fair.  That should be fun. 😀  Maybe I’ll get a new crystal out of it.

Have a good weekend!  Maybe tomorrow I’ll have more pictures to share but this… this just blows it all away.

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It’s a Beautiful Day

 

 

So! Yesterday was Hell Day.

First, Wednesday night I discovered that the cover kaeli made me doesn’t work with Createspace’s specs.  So I left a message for her.

Second, This week as been too toxic because my kids have run out of their proper laundry soap and had to use something that was “mountain spring” scented.  It’s messed with my head and emotions.  So I’m not destressing properly anyway.

Third, well, this one takes a little explaining.  I’m disabled, right, and I’m on social assistance while I try to get on disability income.  Being the way my particular system is I have to fill out a little card every month that details my income – or lack thereof as the case may be.  I’m supposed to turn it in by the 20th.  I found it on my desk yesterday morning and a suspension letter in my mail.  

Can we just say I have a grasp of language and a way with words that would make a sailor blush?

So, a flurry of desperate sounding phone calls to my social worker (who prefers ONE phone call and happened to be in a staff meeting most of the morning) and a harried trip into the city later, I still don’t know what’s going to happen.  

Fourth, I FINALLY heard back from kaeli.  She told me it is SOP for an artist to only keep the work for three months.  Meaning, she’s thrown out the PSD and all the individual jpegs to create my cover.  And THAT means she can’t fix it to the specs I need.  Neither can she recreate it.

Fantastic.  No cover for the print book.

Again, sailors blushing.

Thank the Gods I have wonderful, fabulous friends with talents and whom I adore.

Dawn Neil, owner of the small photography business Dawn Neil Studios, has an immense talent with photos and an almost equally immense talent with Photoshop.  She offered to help me build a new cover.  By help, apparently, she meant I’ll pic out the pics and she’ll put them together, with my approval.

Fine by me.  😀

I have exceptional friends.  The people in my life are just absolutely amazing.  

So far we have two photos – Dawn took the one of the woman and one of many a friend of ours took on a trip to Scotland.

Anna!

Without the sheep of course

Isn’t the girl beautiful?  That’s Anna.  The hair will change a little, for the addition of silver streaks in place of her blondest ones.  And her eyes are changing to gold.  

In the landscape photo I think the Anna picture will cover the lamb but either way, I’m wonderfully happy with both pictures.  The next thing is to pick a font and colour.  And as soon as it’s done the book will be complete!

So yes, it’s a wonderful world and a beautiful day.  

 

Oh hey!  I have a sample for you!

😀 I like it so far. The streaks in Anna’s hair are natural so it’ll have to be extended to cover the roots but I love how the look is shaping up.

 

Print copies!

 

Well!  I have made an enormous decision.

I am putting HW1 up on Createspace as a POD (print-on-demand) offering. 

This means that when you choose to purchase a hard copy from me they will print and ship it.  It means I don’t have to pay for shipping and it provides an virtually infinite number of copies whereas having ONLY the copies Dad is paying for leaves me with a finite number and with me paying shipping for all of them.

Using Createspace AND my father’s offer will allow me to expand my market.  Createspace offers a store front that will, I’m hoping, allow me to include the KDP link to the ebook.  And the physical copies from Dad’s printer will allow me to a) send out select autographed copies; b) send copies to reviewers that prefer the physical; c) take books to local independent bookstores and d) allow me to have copies on hand for book readings.  

See?  I have it worked out.  And I feel good about it.  I have a good feeling this will work out well.  

Muah.

 

The Best of Summer

Hi everybody!  You’ll have to forgive my lateness today.  I’m in a fibro flare and it’s left me kind of dozy, lacking in focus.  Fibromyalgia is defined, generally, “as a collection of symptoms.”  I could go into what it is and how pissy doctors who are supposed to be experts in the field of musculoskeletal disorders make me are totally ignorant but I won’t.  It will be enough to say that I am in a great deal of pain I can do nothing about.  However, I know this time that with the flare I will not be sitting like a bump on a frog on a log at the bottom of the sea.  (Old children’s song, remember it?  One of those ones that layered lyrics and expected you to remember all that came before it, like The Twelve Days of Christmas.)  Hopefully that will prevent it from lasting for several months.

You know, one of the things I like about this new layout is that the pictures are much bigger!  That will make Saturday that much more exciting and it will be easier to see the detail in my photos.  I LOVE that! 😀

Today’s theme is, as the title suggests, the best of summer.  We have macros, camera tricks, landscapes, lake-scapes and sunsets.  Here we go!

First, from July, I have three pictures.  Two favourites and an honourable mention.

This is my honourable mention. Here simply because it makes me smile. 😀

I love the colours, the focus, the lighting. It was somewhat accidental but some of my best pics have come out that way.

 

Of course this had to be included. It’s an almost perfect example of family at the beach.

Now for July.  There were a LOT of pictures taken that month and a lot of things shared.  It was hard to choose just three, so I ended up with four. *laughs*

This, of course! It’s so huge. The sense of space is vast and it’s a beautiful moon. Clouds stacked on top of each other so tall the tops seem miles above the trees. The colours, the space, the shadows, it all gets me.

This one is so light, so bright, so evocative of summer that it just had to be included too. It’s one of Tee’s favourites.

 

 

 

It’s soothing, serene, beautiful. A perfect evening on the lake.  Makes you feel small, doesn’t it?

Sunset at the lake again, surprise! *laughs* I love the shadow at the front and the light at the back. It adds depth, I think, and that’s what I was going for.

 

August has FIVE pictures!  Neither Tee nor I could narrow it down anymore than that.  But this summer was so full of adventure, laughs and such beautiful things I couldn’t help but take a zillion pictures.

This is the blue moon in August. Yes, I’m starting at the end of the month. I was so surprised to find that I’d taken a GOOD picture of the moon that I had to post it here the week I took it and post it again now.

I love the colours here too, as well as the perspectives.

 

The brightness of the sunset is a stark contrast to the deep blues of the lake here. It’s lovely.

 

 

Pop art setting meets the pier on a virtually perfectly cloudless day.

Pop art on summer flowers, how much more summer could it be?

And now on to September and the last few pictures.  

The outrageous combination of colours here made this something I had to repost. It is one of my favourites.

Sun dried escargot anyone? *laughs* Seriously though, I took this picture because the shell was in them middle of a wind and water swept beach and the shades of brown combined with the swirl of the shell just tickled my fancy.

 

This couple, in their 70s if they’re a day, came all the way down 42 steps to walk 30 yards down the beach and come back to sit on the bench in front of me. Before they left she was snuggled up against his side with her head on his shoulder. It warmed my heart to see them.

I took pictures of this mammoth web built against the side of the cottage and then took the best and cropped it and cropped it again until I had this detailed close up of it. Tee was totally against me putting this picture up but I am doing it anyway because the details and construction are so amazing.

And now for the LAST photo of summer!  (Even though the equinox happened three hours ago now, I’ve been SLOW today.)

Yours truly. I took this at the beginning of September with my laptop’s built-in camera and I like it. I’m a tad too shadowed perhaps but I like it. I don’t look like I’m 2 weeks away from 39 do I?

Damn, I keep forgetting it’s got the date watermarked onto it.  But it’s true!  My birthday is October 5th, 1973.  And I love my birthdays.  I celebrate them.  I love my life as it is and I look forward to what will come.  

These are my top pics for the summer (and a couple of Tee’s).  I hope you liked them as much as I did.  

And now, to rest properly.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

 

 

From Conception to Publication

Good Friday folks!  Welcome to my 100th post!

As you can see, I have a new layout.  I love it, it’s so pretty and the navigation is good too.  I decided that since I’ve taken a new step in my journey my blog needed a new look.  It’s much nicer than the last, although I do mourn being able to put my own picture in the header.  Haven’t figured that one out yet.  Or if I want to.

Five sales now!  😀 This is the short link for anyone looking to pass my book around:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009CI1QVS/ref=r_soa_s_i

Someone asked me on one of my recent posts how I got a book to Kindle.  It’s a hellish process really, one that’s incredibly rewarding at the same time.  I can’t speak for everyone about the process but this is mine.

Writing always starts with inspiration for me.  Inspiration for Highland Wolves came from a tragic event (which I will detail as much as I can in a moment), for the Mazrakir series (which will be extensively revamped in the next couple of years) it was the desire to tell my Coven’s history; fictionalized but they are our stories.  My other writing is all because of some inspiration or another.  It’s harder for me to take an assignment and write.  I have to have a LOT of leeway and even then, inspiration needs to strike.   Some of my best writing HAS been forced.  One of my favourites, laughably, is an essay I wrote in Grade 12 English.  The task was to take one character from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and write a 1,500 word essay about them.  I chose Lady Macbeth, the woman of maybe half a dozen total lines but immense influence.  

I got an A with some real insight (for an 18 y/o) and a LOT of double talk.  *laughs*

Anyway, Highland Wolves.

In November 2008, the people Liam, Marcus and Chelle are based on were out and about.  They got caught in the middle of a very bad thing while they were out one day.  It was totally unexpected but G & C died and D was badly injured.  They saved his life.  But it was a crushing blow to our collective group of friends; of which I am the only one who lives out of physical reach.  I couldn’t go to their funerals or help D through his intensive recovery but what I could do was write something to memorialize them.  

Nearly four years later and it still hurts enough to bring tears to my eyes.

So I started a short story called Highland Wolves.  Why?  Because they live in the UK and this group is thick as thieves, like a wolf pack. The short story demanded more… more plot twists, more character development,  more action, more sex, more violence.  More.   The characters wanted more. 

Then at the last minute, when I thought the book would be over – and a stand alone story – someone went missing.  Jsut poof, vanished. Et voila, un deuxième livre.  A second book.  I got partway through book two and there was suddenly a plot and a theme for book three!

But book one is what we’re talking about. Book one took me almost two years to write – I had life going on, one that mostly sucked – but I persevered and got it done.  Then I started the editing process.  Ran through it a couple times and went “Well, this is done!”  

How *do* you spell that buzzer noise?  The “You are incorrect, Sir!” noise.

 I got told so by more than one publisher.  I also got told to essentially do a complete rewrite and close the third person to one person.  I still don’t know what’s wrong with an omniscient view as long as it’s cohesive.  The third person books I like most tend to have that this is what he’s feeling, this is what she’s feeling vibe about them.  I refused to change my style and that knocked me back for a while.

And then I got a rejection that mentioned the editing.  In depth. 

So that got me editing again.  Totally paranoid about it.  So paranoid it stymied my ability to move forward.  I set a goal to submit it one of the Tor imprints and… totally chickened out.  I used the excuse that I couldn’t afford to print and ship it (Tor only accepts paper manuscripts, or did at that point).  Lame, yep.

As my followers know I recently wrote an investor proposal (it worked out to be somewhere between $2,000 and 2,500) but I couldn’t find the balls to follow up on it.  Or move forward in any way.  Then an article came my way about Amanda Hocking.  She’s a very popular paranormal author who, in only 18 months, went from broke to $2.5 million in 18 months AND a contract with a traditional house.  What did she do?  She put it up on  Kindle-Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing specifically).  

I don’t know what marketing she did.  I don’t know what she did after clicking on the go-ahead for that final step to make it live.  I really don’t care.

I was inspired by her story, exasperated with myself, fed up with being broke and fed up with being a coward.  (I don’t expect her success, but even a fraction of it would be lovely)

That’s what this holding pattern has been about – cowardice.  Why?  I think I have a great book.  My regular readers, assistant editors (all of whom are amazing, but two more than the rest because they ARE nitpicky enough to make me want to strangle them) all think I have a great book.  But what if the general public doesn’t?  

Okay, the general erotic-paranormal crowd.  

What if all the work I’ve put into it has been virtually worthless?

Nope, I can’t say that.  It’s a wonderful memorial to C & G.  They are so alive in these books.  All of us are.  

So Ms. Hocking’s story inspired me and within 48 hours Witch Hitlist was live.

So here I am, feeling intense pressure to succeed but it’s pressure I’ve created so I’m ignoring it.  I did what I set out to do when Highland Wolves became a book named Witch Hitlist and the first in a series. 

And all of it, all the angst, all the work, everything has been because I loved those two people and to help those of us who helped survive remember them with humour and love.  Marcus and Chelle are more and different and yet still the embodiment of C & G.  

I, for one, am proud of myself for accomplishing this goal.

As Promised…

I said on Sunday that I would have big news for you and this morning I am pleased to announce it.

I have been hemming and hawing for a long time about the whole ebook only thing but with the help of my Dad I can do it so that it is in print as well.  (I do need to purchase an ISBN though)  This past week I have been thinking long and hard about finally putting my book out there, about just shoving it into the market place and hoping for the best.  

Well, I, the Queen of Cold Feet, finally made a decision and I am pleased to announce:

Witch Hitlist is LIVE on amazon.com’s Kindle store!

My celebratory giveaways will be a little delayed but the giveaways WILL happen.  Click on the word LIVE and it’ll take you to my book’s page.

I’m so freaking happy about this I’m sitting here in tears trying not to scream and dance giddily because my kids are asleep still.

I want a drink. I want chocolate. I want to dance.  I want to slap posters of the book up everywhere.  
I’m a little pleased.  Can you tell?  (I do have both chocolate & alcohol in the house but given that it’s 6:15 a.m. I’ll show a little restraint.  Probably.)

Mr. Happy here has it right.

Fascinating Pieces of Life

Good Sunday morning – hmmm well, it’s 6 minutes away from afternoon, let me fix this.

Good Sunday afternoon ladies and gentlemen!  How has your weekend been thus far?  Mine has been great!   

This week has had its ups and downs.  For instance, a down was my doc suggesting strongly that I avoid walking as much as possible (and do my elliptical trainer instead) and that I should definitely avoid walking on the beach.

HA!  As if.  But I will curtail the walks on the beach.   The weather has been cooling off – as you can see here:

Peter is wearing three layers here and I had on a windbreaker and sweater over my t-shirt too.

With the change in weather comes more wind and more wind means more water rushing up on the sand.  It means, in the long run, that the sand is firmer and easier to walk on.  So, minimal, but not stopping.  I will do all it takes to slow the degeneration in my back EXCEPT stay off the beach, it is too good for my mental health.

It also means fewer people on the beach:

Our chairs were so lonely. That person walking away used them as a base to take pictures of the pier and Peter & I walking along the beach towards it.

This week I saw some fascinating things and had to take pictures of them.  Starting with this: 

This is a pea sized bit of cat food the ants stole from Terror’s dish. His food dish is set in a small tray to try and discourage them. They still manage to get food out.

A single ant was dragging it across the floor. I was amazed. It would have dragged it six or seven feet across the floor and down the length of my kitchen table to…

…here. That space between the lengths of floor molding there also happens to be the entrance to their home. I keep my floors fairly clean to minimize the temptations and yet, over the course of a week, they will still find things. They break the large pieces down into ones that will fit through that space (I watched) and take them down into the warren of tunnels that makes up their home.

 

This weekend we went to the Native American Harvest Festival and Pow wow at the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.  It was wonderful!  The music was very soul stirring and the energy was just amazing.  Unfortunately, Peter didn’t feel that way about the Pow wow itself but he did truly like the workshop we took.  Pow wow etiquette dictated that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of anything but the Grand Entrance and I will share a few of them with you.  Unfortunately, people kept getting in my way.

The Elders begin the entrance with a slow double step stomp.  They are accompanied by the veterans and flag and colour bearers.

   

They are followed by the lead male and female dancers.

One of the most fascinating and colourful of the regalia was the Draco dancer. Draco means Serpent in this instance and the Serpent stands for wisdom, life and knowledge. I wish I’d been able to ask precisely what his dance meant. Perhaps if I’d been able to watch it they’d have explained it.

A close up of the Draco regalia. Fantastic isn’t it?

We had royalty there. This gorgeous little girl is named Phoenix and she is the Princess of South Eastern Michigan, the Little Miss.

Those were the most fascinating of the dancers at the Pow wow and the Grand Entrance is the only time I was allowed to take pictures.  I had a fabulous full length photo of a beautiful jingle dress but out of respect for the woman wearing it, I won’t post it here.  

As I said, we attended a workshop.  It was about Native American mandalas.  Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning circle and the Native Americans take it to mean the circle of life, usually.  For some it is about our life journey and for others it’s hung for healing.  They hang them in their houses for protection Moses, our teacher, told us.  We made ones in the shape of shields.  

This is mine. It’s a wolf howling at a medicine wheel moon. My medicine wheel is about 180 degrees tilted the wrong way but the colours are in the right order I believe. A wolf means family and loyalty.

This is Peter’s. He did a turtle, which is the symbol of the Native creation myth. They believe that the Creators made North America on the back of a giant turtle. Isn’t this fabulous? He did a wonderful job with it.

 

 

And that makes me done folks!  I hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend and I will go put my feet up and relax.  I’m in a breathtaking amount of pain today.  

In the next couple days I will have some exciting news!  Be sure to pay attention, you’ll want to!

Muah!